In the first generation, Ibn Khaldun wrote, an empire is founded by rough-hewn bedouins, thirsty for power, closely tied together, and always wary: “Their swords are kept sharp, their attack is feared, and their neighbors vanquished.” In the second generation, things are still good: “Possessing dominion and affluence, they turn from nomadic to settled life, and from hardship to ease and plenty.” Yet the close bonds of kinship and family that made the empire so resilient start to erode. The dynasts begin to hire outside managers and mercenaries to maintain their empire. They rely ever more heavily on bureaucracy. This generation oversees the peak of the empire’s glory, but things tend to stagnate a bit, and while what they bequeath to their heirs looks powerful on the outside, it is hollowing out underneath.
In the third generation, the empire tends to fall apart. The second generation was raised in splendor, but its members were reared by the same rough and ready desert natives who had founded the empire. The third generation, however, has known nothing but the palace. Its members don’t have the same enterprising spirit, and they fall short of their ancestors’ models. “Their national spirit is wholly extinguished; they have no stomach for resistance, defense, or attack,” Ibn Khaldun wrote. “Nevertheless they impose on the people by their bearing and uniform, their horsemanship, and the address with which they maneuver.”
Any semblance to the USofA since WWII?